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Abstract

This article discusses the organization required at the outset of a failure investigation and provides a methodology with some organizational tools. It focuses on the use of problem-solving tools such as a fault tree analysis combined with critical thinking. The discussion covers nine steps to organize a good failure investigation. They are as follows: understand and negotiate goals of the investigation, obtain a clear understanding of the failure, identify all possible root causes, objectively evaluate the likelihood of each root cause, converge on the most likely root cause(s), objectively and clearly identify all possible corrective actions, objectively evaluate each corrective action, select optimal corrective action(s), and evaluate effectiveness of selected corrective action(s). Common problems detrimental to a failure investigation are also covered.

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